The maths is simple and in Manchester United’s favour.
Brighton & Hove Albion, with seven games left (21 points maximum), can reach 73 points.
Liverpool, with five games left (15 points max), can reach 71 points.
United then need to hit 74 or hold Brighton to a draw and hit 72 in six games.
Already at 63 points, this means nine to 11 points from six games.
How hard will it be to win four games from their last six? Let’s assess Man United’s fixtures for the rest of the season.
Despite the high cost of watching Premier League games in the United Kingdom, only three of United’s six Premier League games in May will be on TV, with the broadcasters having (correctly) surmised that easy home games against Wolverhampton Wanderers and Fulham are probably not worth spending money on.
It’s a shame, but at least we have live-streaming options for Man Utd fans regardless of region.
Brighton v Man Utd (May 4, 2023) (Sky Sports)
The last game left against a possible top-four rival. FiveThirtyEight’s prediction model gives Brighton a 50% chance of winning this game, but only a 4% chance of qualifying for the top four. In other words, Brighton’s schedule is too tough for them to seriously challenge United.
United could lose this and still be fine, but recent improvements in the team suggest a more solid performance is coming up this week.
West Ham United v Man Utd (May 7, 2023) (BT Sport)
West Ham are possibly safe from relegation but unlikely to push for anything higher than 14th this season.
David Moyes has done United many favours (when managing the opposition, mind you), and this could be another one of those games that United just scrape through with a one-goal lead. But let’s be conservative here…
Man Utd v Wolves (May 13, 2023)
No midweek football, well-rested players and home advantage? Easiest win of the month.
Bournemouth v Man Utd (May 20, 2023)
Away games aren’t United’s strength this season but we still think a draw is a fair result here, but a well-rested team after a murderous schedule should work out a win.
Man Utd v Chelsea (May 25, 2023) (Sky Sports)
This is a win, whether Frank Lampard is in charge or not.
Even if Mauricio Pochettino is appointed and has taken over, Chelsea’s disjointed squad will find Old Trafford a bridge too far.
Man Utd v Fulham (May 28, 2023)
The final game of the season, at home. Possibly needing a win for a top-four finish if United lose to Brighton and drop points elsewhere too.
Top four secured or otherwise, this should be another home win.
A generous four wins and two draws – but with three home games, nine points are more or less assured – and then it’s a matter of picking up one win from three away games.
And that is assuming Brighton string together seven wins in a row in a schedule that includes away trips to Arsenal, Newcastle United and Aston Villa AND a home game against Manchester City.
Or Liverpool put together five wins in a row – they arguably have an easier fixture list, but United only need nine points to stay ahead of them – ie three wins.
More than the chasers, of greater concern to United will be their own form and fitness going into the FA Cup final next month.
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